We know that woof is the sound a dog makes when barking. It is used both as a noun and a verb. The word is onomatopoeic but it is also used as an interjection. People woof too when they are attracted to someone. Wiktionary defines the interjectional sense as:
(humorous) Expression of strong physical attraction for someone.
It is, of course, listed in urbandictionary also but it is mentioned as a term in gay slang; and interestingly it is also used in a negative sense. Here are the top two entries for the positive and the negative sense in Urbandictionary:
In the gay community, it's an adjective used to describe a sexy guy, but not the feminine kind of guy, but a more masculine guy; one who you wouldn't identify as being gay if you saw him on the street.
1) If you see a hot guy, you say: "Woof!"
2) He's woofy!
word that is used to describe someone (usually a girl) who is ugly or unattractive
"buzz...your girlfriend... woof!" - kevin, from Home Alone
Another version is the duplication of the word: Woof woof! It is also listed in Urbandictionary and the top two entries are again the positive and the negative sense:
Woof woof is very similar to grrr as in it means whoever is on the receiving end of it is looking mighty fine. You are also very likely to get laid a lot if people say woof woof to you. It's probably best used towards men however as you dont want the woman to think you mean she is dog which is completely different
An expression of negativity. An exclaimation of disapproval of the current situation at hand.
OED lists the interjectional and the second noun sense together and the earliest example is the sound of a collie:
Imitation of a gruff abrupt bark of a dog; also transf. (Cf. whoof int.)
Forms: Also wouf, wowff.
1839 J. Ballantine in Whistle-Binkie 2nd Ser. 26 The wowff o' the colley.
But Etymonline mentions an earlier year:
dog bark noise, first recorded 1804, echoic.
Questions: (all related)
- How do these different senses interrelate? How did the dog woof originate and evolve into human woof?
- When did people start woofing?
- How does woof have both a positive and a negative sense (as an interjection)?